UFC 286 Results, Highlights: Justin Gaethje Passes Rafael Fiziev for Decider in grueling fight
Justin Gaethje continues his warpath in quest for a UFC lightweight championship before calling it a career. Gaethje proved he still has what it takes at the highest level while living up to his reputation as the sport’s most violent fighter in a three-round war with Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 on Saturday night.
The two fighters sounded like a drumline fight. Each hit of the stick produced an audible pop or bang. It was a testament not only to their power, but also to each man’s steadfastness. Gaethje almost knocked Fiziev off his feet with the first kick he executed. Fiziev snapped combinations like lightning. Every part of the body was attacked over the course of 15 minutes, but neither man faltered.
The fighting spirit between Gaethje and Fiziev was alive and well. Fiziev repeatedly trash-talked between his flashes, while Gaethje maintained a sense of humor despite the grueling pace.
For a moment in Round 3 it seemed like the end was near. Fiziev repeatedly froze Gaethje with punches that would have eliminated most welterweights, let alone the lightweight class. But Gaethje – as he has done so often – persevered and increased the pressure. Fiziev had cuts and welts all over his face when the fight was over. An uppercut in the last 30 seconds was certainly Gaethje’s most significant shot. Round 1 probably belonged to Fiziev, round 2 was a tossup and round 3 was certainly Gaethje’s decisive round despite the early fear. The judges favored Gaethje as he took home cards of 29-28 and 29-28, with a third judge calling it a tie at 28-28.
“I’m still in a run for the title but I won’t be around much longer,” Gaethje told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier in a post-fight interview at the O2 Arena in London, England. “So I’m so glad you guys can be here to enjoy this with me. Thank you guys.”
The fight was so typical of Gaethje that the most shocking news from the fight was the takedown he scored in the final seconds of the fight. Gaethje, an accomplished collegiate wrestler, secured the first takedown of his 11-fight UFC career against Fiziev.
Gaethje improved to 24-4 overall, with his only losses in the last five years coming in world title bouts against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira. Fiziev dropped to 12-2 and went on a six-fight win streak.
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https://www.cbssports.com/mma/news/ufc-286-results-highlights-justin-gaethje-outlasts-rafael-fiziev-for-decision-in-grueling-battle/ UFC 286 Results, Highlights: Justin Gaethje Passes Rafael Fiziev for Decider in grueling fight